Press-Republican

Local News

March 10, 2011

Essex County drug sweep nets 11

Task Force bust nets alleged drug dealers in Essex County

LEWIS — Eleven alleged drug dealers were arrested Wednesday in an Essex County drug bust that began shortly after 6 a.m.

Nine of the individuals are from Ticonderoga and two reside in Elizabethtown.

State Police said multiple police agencies with a force of more than two dozen officers fanned out with warrants in hand in a move that required assistance from the Ticonderoga Police Department, Lake Placid Police Department, the Essex County Sheriff's office.

By a late-afternoon press conference, all of the alleged drug dealers had been arraigned on felony sale and possession charges and were in Essex County Jail.

MORE ARRESTS TO COME

Members of the Essex County Task Force said there were 14 indictments, most of them sealed, and three more arrests were expected in conjunction with an ongoing investigation.

State Police Public Information Officer Lieutenant Charles Potthast said the arrests followed a year-long investigation, involving mostly prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, Darvocet, oxycodone, fentanyl and Klonopin, purchased with Medicaid or Medicare prescription benefits.

Some of the alleged dealers face charges in connection with sale or possession of heroin and cocaine.

None of the individuals are employed, according to Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague.

And several told the court they are on disability or receiving unemployment.

Arraignments

Three people were arraigned at Elizabethtown Town Court on Wednesday morning and eight more were brought before Essex County Judge Richard B. Meyer at 1:30 p.m.

Meyer unsealed indictments and provided defendants with a copy listing charges each face in connection with the Task Force investigation.

The alleged dealers were brought into the courtroom one at a time and advised of their rights. Sprague asked for bail amounts that varied according to individual criminal records.

Facing two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of possession, Penny M. Bennett, 43, of Ticonderoga, made a plea for release, saying she had to go home and put things in order.

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